The Compassion Year

A Transformational Journey into the Science, Wisdom and Practice of Compassion

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The Compassion Year

A Transformational Journey into the Science, Wisdom and Practice of Compassion


The Compassion Year, part of Nalanda Institute's Contemplative Psychotherapy Program, distills centuries of learning and wisdom from Nalanda University in ancient India and integrates it with western neuroscience, psychology, and social justice to deliver a transformational practice of social-emotional healing and change. Drs. Joe Loizzo and Diego Hangartner lead the course that features recorded video lectures from world-renowned Buddhist scholars and practitioners, including Robert Thurman, Jan Willis, Lama Rod Owens, Jangchub Choden, Seiso Paul Cooper, Jasmine Syedullah, Diana Fosha, Ethan Nichtern, and many others.

This course offers a comprehensive foundation in the psychology of compassion by utilizing the unique integration of Buddhist psychology and leading-edge western science. If you are interested in learning how to incorporate the powerful wisdom of compassion in your daily life or professional psychotherapy practice, we encourage you to apply today. 

Feel free to reach out with any questions at

Program Benefits

The Compassion Year is a truly life changing experience that invites students to engage academic content, experiential practices and open-hearted discussions in a unique journey of contemplative learning and community. Here are just some of the vital benefits participants will gain:

  • Comprehensive grounding in the Buddhist Psychology of compassion
  • Rigorous training in all four traditional methods of mindfulness-based wise compassion practices
  • An inclusive caring international community that supports deep personal transformation
  • Immersion in the East-West dialogue around neuroscience, psychology and social justice
  • Mentoring in contemplative self-analysis for personal growth and professional practice

What You’ll Learn

  • Transform fear-based self-enclosure into fearless compassionate social engagement
  • Understand the neuropsychology of attachment trauma, implicit bias, and social stress-reactivity
  • Develop a rigorous, grounded practice of wise compassion, including the fourfold cognitively-based compassion practice, the seven-step emotionally-based compassion practice, the four keys and two modes of self-transcendent insight practice, and the six-stage practice of gradually embodying non-dual wisdom and compassion
  • Transform your own and others’ unconscious mind and nervous system for fully embodied compassionate social engagement

Program Schedule

Opening Retreat: October 28 – 30, 2022

The year will begin with a retreat at Landguet Reid Center for Mindful Living, Bern, Switzerland (virtual access also available), with Drs. Joe Loizzo and Diego Hangartner. The opening retreat will introduce the social psychology and compassion practice of the Nalanda tradition, laying the foundation for the art and science of transforming the mind for social engagement. (Should restrictions be needed due to COVID-19 the entirety of the retreat will be virtual).

Bi-weekly Class: Tuesdays, 6:00 – 7:30pm CET / 12:00 – 1:30pm ET / 9:00 – 10:30am PT

Students gather bi-weekly on Tuesdays for a live online video conference that includes meditation, a review of previously watched recorded lectures, whole group discussion and small group breakouts, led by our core or visiting faculty. These conferences are facilitated by Joe Loizzo, Diego Hangartner and Rahshaana Green.

Spring Retreat: March 10 – 12, 2023

There is a live online spring retreat led by Drs. Joe Loizzo, Diego Hangartner and Pilar Jennings. The Spring  retreat will  introduce the transformational depth-psychology and embodied compassion practice of the Nalanda tradition, including the practice of self-transcendent wisdom and the embodiment of unconditional compassion.

Extracurricular Offerings

  • Optional weekly practice field, peer-led meditation and group sharing
  • Optional weekly process field, peer-led study and discussion group 
  • Office hours with Program Director, Rahshaana Green and Diego Hangartner
  • Monthly group supervision with Dr. Joe Loizzo

Program Requirements

Outside of class, students are expected to maintain a daily meditation practice based on the Compassion Year curriculum, and read required texts.

Students work on a capstone project throughout the year.

Program Details

Dates: October 28 – May 23

Tuition: $3,400 per year. Tuition does not include accommodations for retreats. 
Financial aid available for those who qualify (see application) 

Application Deadline: October 15, 2022

Core Faculty

Joe Loizzo

Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD is a Harvard-trained contemplative psychotherapist, Buddhist scholar, and author with over four decades experience integrating Indo-Tibetan mind science and healing arts into modern neuropsychology, psychotherapy, and clinical research. He is founder and academic director of the Nalanda Institute, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, and a clinician in private practice in Manhattan. Joe is the author of numerous scholarly review articles on contemplative neuropsychiatry and psychotherapy. He is the author of the comprehensive textbook, Sustainable Happiness: The Mind Science Of Well-Being, Altruism, and Inspiration. He is executive editor of Advances in Contemplative Psychotherapy: Accelerating Healing and Transformation, a groundbreaking collection of essays by pioneers of the fast-emerging and highly promising new field of contemplative psychotherapy.

Diego Hangartner

Diego Hangartner, PhD, PCC, is a clinical pharmacologist and certified coach (PCC), using neuroscientific, performance and clinical scientific insights, combining them to strengthen mental fitness and wellbeing. He spent many years at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics in India, studying, translating and publishing several Tibetan works, and organized many large events with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Asia, Europe and the USA. Diego was COO of Mind and Life Institute in the US and co-founder and director of Mind and Life Institute in Europe until 2015. Today, he continues his research and teaching with the Max Planck Institute, The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich University of Applied Sciences, and is a lecturer at the Business School of the University St.Gallen.

Rahshaana Green

Rahshaana Green, MBA, PMP, RYT, is the Director of the Live Learning Contemplative Psychotherapy Program. She is a coach and business consultant with expertise in Business Development, Marketing, and Strategy in Healthcare and Science. She is also a yoga/meditation teacher specialized in working with injured, aging, and perinatal clients. Green received her BA in Biophysical Chemistry from Dartmouth College, her MBA from University of Texas-Austin, and her foundational yoga training with Ana Forrest. She teaches mindfulness and compassion through meditation and yoga to corporate, group, and private clients and is passionate about empowering others to cultivate well-being and resilience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you give some examples of the types of students who have completed the program? 
Part of the richness of the program is the remarkably broad range of professions represented — all are oriented toward integrating healing practices into their professional discipline. We have had a variety of mental health and health professionals, graduate students, yoga instructors, acupuncturists, lawyers & business people, and clergy that have taken the program in the past.  

I understand that participants watch weekly online video lectures. How are those made available? Will I have access to those recordings after the year is over? 
Participants watch weekly online video lectures via our secure and private website. Most of the weekly reading assignments are also posted to the website. You will have access to the site prior to the Fall Retreat and this access continues for one year from the date of graduation from the program. 

I see the course is part of the Contemplative Psychotherapy Program. Is it best to start with the Mindfulness Year or the Compassion Year? 
The two years build complementary meditative and philosophical practices, and for some people the best entry is through compassion, for others it’s mindfulness. Entry into the program is determined on an individual basis, based on the applicant’s experience and exposure to meditative traditions. There are benefits to starting in either year. 

Are there ways that the years are differentiated other than the subject matter? 
The years are differentiated by subject matter, meditation practices, as well as faculty. The structure of the classes is the same in both years. 

Is there homework? What would a typical homework assignment involve? 
There are weekly readings — usually around 30 pages — assigned each week along with the weekly 2-hour online video lectures. Other assignments include: submitting a capstone proposal and final capstone project, 2 meditation teach-backs (in which you lead a meditation to a small group), as well as brief reflection papers on the teach-backs.

How many hours outside of the classroom should I expect to put in? 
That’s really up to you! Generally, participants watch the weekly 2-hour online lectures, spend about 1–2 hours with readings/materials, as well as their daily meditation practice commitment—which is individually determined. 

How are the faculty-led bi-monthly meetings structured? 
Twice a month we gather via video conference for 90 minutes, to discuss the material from the video lectures and the reading assignments. Participants will get time for case consultation and to share their experiences regarding their meditation practice. 

Can you say something about the capstone projects? 
Capstone projects are a vital component of the program allowing students to integrate their coursework in meaningful ways — personal or professional. Guidelines for the projects are deliberately open and students work on their projects throughout the year. The projects reflect the diverse professional backgrounds of our students and take on many forms. They range from the academic to the creative. Past projects have incorporated clinical applications such as anxiety and eating disorders or have focused on specific population groups such as incarcerated youth. Many projects integrate mindfulness and/or compassion practice. We’ve seen theoretical papers, personal integration papers, websites offering information and tools about meditation, recordings for patients, and a variety of creative/artistic presentations of the material. 

Do I need to be an experienced meditator to be in the program? 
Daily meditation practice is a cornerstone of the program that we encourage and support. We recommend that participants have a basic meditation practice upon entering into the program, but one does not have to be highly experienced. The program offers support to those seeking to develop a daily practice. 

Does it matter what meditation tradition that I follow? 
Absolutely not. The diversity of our students’ practices enriches us all. We have participants coming from many different meditation traditions, and strongly encourage students to maintain their practice and tradition while complementing it with the meditation practices of the program. 

Can I apply for a scholarship? 
The program does not offer full scholarships. Financial assistance is available based on application and need.